The fund created by the estate of Jeffrey Epstein to compensate victims of sexual assault by the financier has wrapped up its work by paying out just over $121 million to more than 135 people — far more than expected, according to the fund’s administrator.
Jordana Feldman, the administrator of the fund, said she was committed to getting money to eligible victims as quick as possible because so many of them had been waiting for years. She noted the fund had begun its work in earnest last August and she wanted to approve the final awards before Tuesday — the second anniversary of Mr. Epstein’s death in federal custody of an apparent suicide.
“I really wanted this process to move quickly and in a meaningful and purposeful way,” said Ms. Feldman. “I really believe these programs are as much about validation as compensation.”
When Mr. Epstein died in a Manhattan jail cell a month after his July 2019 arrest by federal authorities, he left behind a vast estate valued at about $600 million. But because he had put much of his fortune into a trust, there were concerns that it could take years for his victims to get any money back from his estate.
The estate’s executors decided to establish a restitution fund to allow accusers to seek compensation, including those who had reached prior settlements with Mr. Epstein after his 2008 conviction on soliciting prostitution from an underage girl. As part of that decade-old plea agreement, Mr. Epstein avoided more serious federal charges but was required to register as a sex offender.
In July 2019, Mr. Epstein, after years of trying to rehabilitate his image, was arrested and charged by federal prosecutors in Manhattan with the more serious offense of sex trafficking of teenage girls. Ms. Feldman said the expectation was that the fund might get claims from about 100 people. But in the end about 225 people came forward seeking restitution.
Not everyone who submitted a claim was deemed eligible. Ms. Feldman and her team rejected about 75 claims, though she declined to say what made them ineligible. She also said a few people decided not to accept the awards, allowing them the opportunity to pursue lawsuits against the estate instead.
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